Blind and partially sighted people find it difficult to access mainstream sport. (British Blind Sport’s Overcoming Barriers to Participation 2014). This is reinforced by well documented research that notes one of the consequences of sight loss is a sedentary lifestyle. (Mir, 2004). Blind/partially sighted people tell us how beneficial tailored sporting activities can be, as Denise aged 52 says ’Activities are vital for anyone with sight loss to find themselves again. The sense of improved wellbeing it provides is simply life changing.’ From a survey during the pandemic May 2020 (165 responses) 98% felt lonely/isolated during the pandemic, losing confidence to go outdoors again.
Working with the Anderton Outdoor Activities Centre in Chorley, Galloway’s wants to provide 5 sailing/water sessions. Pre COVID we ran a pilot of 5 sailing sessions with the centre, the sessions were oversubscribed. The goal is to ensure blind/partially sighted people have the opportunity to be physically active, to feel connected with peers and improve their health and wellbeing. Funding detail: Sailing Tuition 2 specialist instructors @£380 per morning session for 5 sessions £1900.Galloways Minibus 100 miles round trip x .45p x 5 sessions £225. Galloway’s will fund the Outdoor Coordinator’s time and expenses from the Volunteer Divers. 24 Blind/partially sighted people will participate.
Galloway’s Society for the Blind have supported people with sight loss for over 150 years. We are a known and trusted organisation. We have an existing Get Active programme with 170 followers, led by a Coordinator who is visually impaired himself. He understands the challenges that blind/partially sighted people face, acting as an inspiration. We have an existing relationship with the Anderton Outdoor Centre, who have expert trainers from a successful sailing/water pilot in 2019. Galloway's have 2 minibuses and volunteer drivers so will provide the transport. Feedback from 2019 pilot shows the benefits: ‘it just gives you so much more confidence to do other things.' (Marion, aged 88).